I was sitting at a soccer practice years ago, reading a book about emotional healing after abortion as research for my first novel. Sitting next to me was a woman I knew only casually. Our kids were in the same Sunday school class I believe. She was, how do I put this? Not a very pleasant woman. She always seemed angry, with a scowl on her face that made you want to steer clear.
She asked me what I was reading.
I showed her the cover the book.
She looked at me, startled rather than scowling. “Why are you reading that?”
“I’m doing research for a book I’m writing.”
“An anti-abortion book?”
“No. It’s a novel about a girl struggling with the after affects of having an abortion.”
As she stared at me her face softened a little, so I decided to keep talking.
“I believe that the church has not dealt with this issue very well. We get so wrapped up in ‘saving the life of the unborn’ we neglect the woman who are hurting in the aftermath. No body makes this decision lightly. And when they do, they believe it is the best choice, having no idea the depths of the pain it can cause them.”
She was looking down at her feet. Her face was flushed. “What made you decide to write about that?”
“I realized during a right to life service a few years ago that, if I had been a young pregnant teenage girl, and I could have been a young pregnant teenage girl, I would have gotten an abortion. I have no doubt about it. By the grace of God, I never had to make that choice. I want to help those that have made that choice realize that God loves them, forgives them, and wants them to be healed. ”
She burst into tears. I put down my book.
“I’ve sat in church for ten years and I’ve never told anyone about my abortion. I never thought I could.”
Before my eyes this hard, unhappy, woman that I had always assumed was simply mean, broke down and began to shed the burden of shame she had been carrying for years.
I let down my guard, shared a little bit of my story, and God used it to speak freedom into the life of his child.
“I want to read your book when it comes out,” she said, regaining her composer.
I don’t know if she ever did.
I learned something that day.
We can share facts and sermonize about any number of things with the intent of helping others.
But it’s in the simple sharing of stories that lives can truly be changed.
Don’t be shy. Open up. Your story matters. Who knows whose life can be changed for the better just because you were willing to share a bit of yourself with them!